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Company L moves civilians out of harm’s way before destroying car bomb facility;

4 Sep 2005 | Cpl. Ken Melton

Iraqi Security Forces along with Marines and Sailors from Company L, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, conducted counter-insurgency operations in an attempt to isolate and neutralize anti-Iraqi forces and to destroy insurgency strong points here.

Marines in 2nd platoon, Company L who participated in Operation Spear, conducted a follow-on mission in Husaybah where they discovered and destroyed a Suicide Vehicle-Borne Improvised Device facility.

“I feel a lot safer knowing that we helped take these potential weapons out of the picture,” said Lance Cpl. Shad K. Biffle, a fireteam leader with 2nd platoon. “SVBIEDS are one of the scariest things we can encounter on any mission.”

On the last day of the operation, 2nd platoon set out on a mission to confirm a suspected SVBIED facility by securing the area, observing it and calling for heavy firepower to destroy it if needed.

“When we reached the objective and started to observe the lot, one of the vehicles exploded,” 24-year-old said. “Then the tanks began to engage the lot and the structures within the compound.”

The Marines maintained their position while the tanks fired more than a dozen rounds into the compound that held approximately 20 SVBIEDS. Soon after, they received word that air support was en route to finish off the job.

“We were in a house nearby when the tanks began to fire and when we received the word to leave the area and to evacuate as many families as possible,” said Biffle, who hails from Columbus, Ohio. “We had to protect the innocent lives of people living nearby the structure, even though it meant having to help people who could have been involved with it. It was risk we were willing to take.”

Second platoon moved numerous families more than 700 meters into a fortified building to ensure that they would be safe.

“Everyday on patrols we pass by vehicles on the street that could be dangerous. I’m glad that we had the permission to engage the vehicles and to destroy a compound that had known SVBIEDS,” said the 1999 Worthington High School graduate. “It felt even better when we helped those people.”

After three bombs were dropped onto the compound, the citizens were allowed to return to their homes safely and the Marines with Company L prepared to return to the base knowing they had successfully completed the mission.

“During this operation, we utilized every asset we had and still followed all the rules of engagement,” Biffle said. “By doing that, we were able to engage anything suspicious which helped ease the Marines’ mind and keep the operational tempo going.

“We crushed any insurgency in this area, destroyed an SVBIED facility and our company did not take any losses. That’s more than you can ask for when you go into a hostile city and return with every one. There is no feeling better than that.”